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Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine

Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine

Zelenskyy calls for additional weapons following deadly Russian missile strikes

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visits a site of residential buildings recently damaged by a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine March 27, 2023.

Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | via Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy renewed calls for high-quality weapons following a string of Russian missile strikes across the country.

“Today, our Air Force managed to shoot down most of the Russian missiles, 21 out of 23. If not for this, the terrorist state would have managed to claim many more casualties, more lives,” Zelenskyy said in a nightly address.

“This proves once again that we can stop terror and save people with weapons. Air defense, modern aircraft, without which there is no fully effective air defense,” he pressed. Zelenskyy also called for artillery and armored vehicles.

— Amanda Macias

Ukraine’s defense minister says counteroffensive operation is close to happening

Ukrainian soldiers from the 28th Brigade put bullets into clips for use with light machine guns, as Ukrainian Armed Forces units train for a critical and imminent spring counteroffensive against Russian troops, which invaded 14 months earlier, in the Donbas region, Ukraine, on April 26, 2023. 

Scott Peterson | Getty Images

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov told reporters in Kyiv that preparations for a counteroffensive are in their final stages.

Reznikov said Ukrainian military leaders will soon make a decision on when and where to launch the counteroffensive, according to an NBC News translation.

Reznikov declined to provide additional details on the upcoming military operation, citing security concerns.

— Amanda Macias

Death toll from Russian missile attack in Uman rises to 23

Emergency workers carry on a stretcher a body of a victim found under the rubble of the destroyed residential building following the Russian attack, on April 28, 2023 in Uman, Ukraine.

Roman Pilipey | Getty Images

The death toll from a Russian missile strike on a residential highrise building in Uman rose to 23, Ukraine’s National police wrote in an update posted on Telegram.

Ukrainian authorities said that the bodies of four children were pulled from the rubble.

Russia’s Defense Ministry denied claims that its forces target civilian infrastructure and said the string of missile strikes were aimed at areas with large numbers of Ukrainian troops.

Rescuers work on the rubble of a damaged residential building in Uman, in the Cherkasy Oblast, central Ukraine, on April 28, 2023, after Russian missile strikes targeted several Ukrainian cities overnight. 

Sergei Supinsky | Afp | Getty Images

A firefighter on a ladder extinguishes a fire at a residential building on April 28, 2023 in Uman, Ukraine.

Global Images Ukraine | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Locals sit in proximity to the destroyed residential building on April 28, 2023 in Uman, Cherkasy Oblast, Ukraine.

Global Images Ukraine | Getty Images News | Getty Images

A view of the burnt bus as soldiers inspect the site after a shelling by Ukraine’s Armed Forces in Donetsk, Russian-controlled territory, Ukraine on April 28, 2023. A missile hit a bus with civilians in the center of Donetsk, leaving seven people dead and eight others injured. 

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Zelenskyy discusses Russia missile strikes and agricultural bans with EU Council president

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke with EU Council president Charles Michel following a string of missile attacks across multiple cities in Ukraine.

“I informed him about the tragic consequences of another missile attack on Ukrainian cities, killing civilians, including children,” Zelenskyy wrote in a tweet.

Ukrainian authorities said that the Russian strikes have killed at least 23 people, according to the Associated Press.

Zelenskyy said the two leaders also discussed the recent import ban on Ukrainian agricultural products by several neighboring states. 

“I called for finding a solution to the situation, taking into account EU legislation, the association agreement and the interests of all parties,” Zelenskyy added.

— Amanda Macias

Three ships leave Ukraine under Black Sea Grain Initiative

A ship carrying wheat from Ukraine to Afghanistan after inspection in the open sea around Zeytinburnu district of Istanbul, Turkiye on January 24, 2023.

TUR Ministry of National Defence | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Three ships carrying 132,050 metric tons of corn left Ukraine’s ports of Chornomorsk and Odesa.

The ships are destined for China, Egypt and Libya and travel by way of the U.N.-backed Black Sea Grain Initiative, a humanitarian sea corridor.

Since the sea corridor was established in July, more than 900 ships carrying nearly 29 million metric tons of agricultural products have departed from Ukraine’s war-weary ports.

Russia has previously said that it would not recognize an extension of the deal, which could expire in mid-May.

— Amanda Macias

‘I am humbled and deeply touched by all the letters I received,’ detained WSJ reporter writes in new statement

US journalist Evan Gershkovich, arrested on espionage charges, stands inside a defendants’ cage before a hearing to consider an appeal on his arrest at the Moscow City Court in Moscow on April 18, 2023. 

Sefa Karacan | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Detained Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who is currently facing allegations of espionage in Russia, released a new statement through his legal representation.

“I am humbled and deeply touched by all the letters I received. I’ve read each one carefully, with gratitude,” Gershkovich wrote, according to a statement shared by the Wall Street Journal.

Gershkovich was arrested last month by Russian authorities and is currently detained at Lefortovo prison in Moscow. Earlier this week, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations called for Gershkovich’s immediate release.

— Amanda Macias

Russian missile and drone attack strikes residential building

Firefighters on ladder extinguish a fire while their colleagues conduct search and rescue operation on April 28, 2023 in Uman, Ukraine.

Yevhenii Zavhorodnii | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Russia fired more than 20 cruise missiles and two drones at Ukraine early Friday, killing at least 23 people, according to an Associated Press report citing officials. Three children were among the dead.

Seventeen people died from strikes on a nine-story residential building in Uman, a city located around 215 kilometers (134 miles) south of Kyiv, the capital region’s governor, Ihor Taburets, said in an AP report.

The Ukrainian national police said 17 people were wounded and three children were rescued from the rubble. Nine were hospitalized, the AP reported.

The Russian Defense Ministry has said the long-range air-launched cruise missiles launched overnight were aimed at places where Ukrainian military reserve units were staying before their deployment to the battlefield, according to the AP.

— Melodie Warner

‘Grave’ human rights abuses in Ukraine deeply concerning, says UN committee

The torture, rape and killing of civilians, as well as the forcible transfer of Ukrainian children to Russia, were among the list of “grave” human rights abuses committed by Russia and about which it was deeply concerned, a United Nations committee said Friday.

In a report, which also cited enforced disappearances and arbitrary detentions, the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination called on Russian authorities to investigate the allegations against its forces and private military companies in Ukraine.

Steve Allen | Brand X Pictures | Getty Images

“The Committee was deeply concerned about the grave human rights violations committed during the ongoing conflict by the Russian Federation’s military forces and private military companies,” it said in a statement, according to Reuters.

The committee also said that Russia has refused to provide it with information on the conflict.

There was no immediate comment from the Russian permanent mission to the United Nations in Geneva. However, Russia has consistently denied committing human rights abuses and deliberately targeting civilians despite evidence to the contrary.

— Karen Gilchrist

Putin signs law to strip citizenship of naturalized Russians who ‘threaten national security’

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting on the development of unmanned aircraft, at the Rudnyovo industrial park in Moscow, Russia April 27, 2023. 

Mikhail Klimentyev | Sputnik | Reuters

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin signed a law Friday which would strip naturalized Russian citizens of their citizenship if they are deemed to “threaten national security,” according to reports from Russian state-owned news agency RIA reported.

— Karen Gilchrist

Russia claims missile strikes hit Ukrainian reserve units

Russia’s defense ministry said Friday that its forces had launched long-range high-precision strikes on Ukrainian army reserve units overnight, according to state-owned RIA news agency.

At least 17 people have so far been reported dead as a result of the strikes — the first such attack in nearly two months — Ukrainian officials said.

— Karen Gilchrist

Russian Central Bank leaves interest rates unchanged at 7.5%; ruble jumps 2%

Russia’s Central Bank left its key interest rate unchanged at 7.5% at a policy meeting Friday.

It marks the fifth consecutive time the bank has held rates steady. However, policymakers hinted that they may raise rates should inflation continue to move higher.

The Russian ruble jumped 2% to hit a three-week high against the dollar shortly after the decision was announced.

Russia’s annual inflation rate slowed to 2.55% in April, but it is expected to rise to between 5% and 7% later this year, the bank said.

“Given gradually rising inflationary pressures, the Bank of Russia’s forthcoming board meetings will consider the necessity of a key rate increase to stabilize inflation close to 4% in 2024 and further on,” the central bank said.

— Karen Gilchrist

Russia fires sanctioned deputy defense minister, according to reports

Russia’s sanctioned Deputy Defense Minister, Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev, has been fired, according to Reuters, which cited reports from a military blogger and a leading news website.

Chief of the National Centre for State Defense Control Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev speaks during working meeting of the Interdepartmental Coordination Unit of the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia on the return of refugees to Syria at the Russian National Defense Management Center in Moscow Russia on July 20, 2018.

Sefa Karacan | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Mizintsev, dubbed the “Butcher of Mariupol,” was sanctioned by the West in June 2022 for orchestrating the siege of the Ukrainian city of Mariupol near the beginning of the war last year.

He was later appointed as Russia’s deputy defense minister in charge of logistics and supplies in September 2022.

His sacking was reported by a Russian military blogger, Alexander Sladkov, and by the RBC news site. Neither outlets offered a reason or explanation for his removal, according to Reuters.

Russia’s defense ministry did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

— Karen Gilchrist

Ukraine finalizing counteroffensive strategy, defense minister says

Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov gives a statement on the day of the Fourth Ukraine Defense Contact group meeting at Ramstein U.S. Air Base, Germany, April 21, 2023.

Heiko Becker | Reuters

Ukraine is finalizing plans for a counteroffensive against Russian forces, Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said Friday, noting that it could be launched imminently.

“As soon as there is God’s will, the weather and a decision by commanders, we will do it,” Reznikov told an online news briefing, according to Reuters, without providing a specific timeline.

– Karen Gilchrist

At least 12 people killed in cities across Ukraine after large-scale airstrikes

Aerial view of a destroyed residential building after missile hit on April 28, 2023 in Uman, Ukraine. 

Yan Dobronosov | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Russian missile attacks on residential buildings in cities across Ukraine killed at least 12 people on Friday, according to regional officials, with many others injured.

Rescuers and residents search for survivors in the rubble next to a damaged residential building in Uman, around 215km south of Kyiv, on April 28, 2023, after Russian missile strikes targeted several Ukrainian cities overnight. 

Sergei Supinsky | Afp | Getty Images

The airstrikes killed 10 people and injured 17 civilians in the central city of Uman, the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs reported. The airstrikes affected 10 residential buildings.

Rescuers work in the rubble of a damaged residential building in Uman, in southern Kyiv, on April 28, 2023, after Russian missile strikes targeted several Ukrainian cities overnight.

Sergei Supinsky | Afp | Getty Images

In the city of Dnipro, a residential building was hit by Russian missiles, killing a woman and child and injuring three civilians, according to the city mayor.

A man stands amid rubble near burnt car on April 28, 2023 in Uman, Ukraine. Overnight, Russia carried out a massive missile attack on the entire territory of Ukraine. A rocket hit a residential building in Uman. Rescuers are conducting a search and rescue operation. (Photo by Yan Dobronosov/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)

Yan Dobronosov | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Kyiv’s regional military administration reported 11 missiles and two unmanned aerial vehicles were shot down in its airspace, with the debris hitting a residential building in the town of Ukrainka.

— Sam Meredith

Ukraine finance minister says Kyiv should use China as leverage to win the war with Russia

Ukrainian Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko told CNBC that the country should use China as leverage to help bring an end to the conflict with Russia.

His comments come shortly after Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Chinese President Xi Jinping held their first phone call since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began in February last year.

“I am not fully convinced that we can emphasize something particular after this conversation but what I truly can tell you is that it is important to continue dialogue between our countries,” Marchenko told CNBC’s Silvia Amaro.

“We really understand the importance of China and we really understand the importance for us to create our own relationship with China and to prevent China to [fully] support Russia.”

Asked whether China could be seen as Ukraine’s best friend in the bid to find a compromise for peace, Marchenko replied, “Of course not. Our best friend is the United States, the G-7 nations and all our partners which is supporting Ukraine.”

He added that Kyiv “should use China as leverage to win this war,” saying the country must use every opportunity “to convince Russia to stop this bloody war in Ukraine.”

— Sam Meredith

Zelenskyy calls for global sanctions to be enhanced after another night of Russian terror

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy reflected on what he described as another night of Russian terror, saying 10 residential buildings were damaged by missile attacks in the central Ukrainian city of Uman.

Rescuers and residents search for survivors in the rubble next to a damaged residential building in Uman, around 215km south of Kyiv, on April 28, 2023, after Russian missile strikes targeted several Ukrainian cities overnight. 

Sergei Supinsky | AFP | Getty Images

He said at the time of sharing his message via Twitter that seven people were killed, while others were injured in the attacks.

Rescuers and residents search for survivors in the rubble next to a damaged residential building in Uman, around 215km south of Kyiv, on April 28, 2023, after Russian missile strikes targeted several Ukrainian cities overnight. 

Sergei Supinsky | AFP | Getty Images

“Evil can be stopped by weapons – our defenders are doing it. And it can be stopped by sanctions – global sanctions must be enhanced,” Zelenskyy said.

— Sam Meredith

At least five dead as Russian missile attacks hit cities across Ukraine

The rubble of a house after shelling at a settlement in the Russian controlled territory of Donetsk, Ukraine, on April 27, 2023.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

A wave of Russian missile attacks early on Friday hit several cities across Ukraine, killing at least five people and injuring others, according to Ukrainian officials.

The barrage comes at a time when analysts see the potential for an imminent Ukrainian counteroffensive, with the Eastern European country bolstered by billions of dollars worth of Western military and economic support.

In Uman, in central Ukraine’s Cherkasy Oblast, a rescue mission is underway after two cruise missiles hit residential and warehouse buildings, killing three people and injuring eight others, Ihor Taburets, the head of the Cherkasy Regional Military Administration, said via Telegram.

In the central city of Dnipro, the city’s mayor said a Russian missile attack killed a young woman and child.

Air raid sirens were heard in Kyiv after a Russian airstrike hit the capital for the first time in 51 days, according to the Kyiv City Military Administration. No casualties were reported among the civilian population; a local power line was said to have been cut off because of falling debris.

— Sam Meredith

Russia Defence Minister says West aims to strategically defeat Russia, pose threat to China via Ukraine

This handout photograph taken on April 28, 2023 and released by the Indian Ministry of Defence shows (L to R) Kyrgyzstan’s Defence Minister Bekbolotov Baktybek Asankalievich, Chinese Defence Minister Li Shangfu, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Secretary-General Zhang Ming, Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, Tajikistan Defence Minister Sherali Mirzo and Uzbekistan Defense Minister Bakhodir Kurbanov posing for group picture during the SCO meet in New Delhi.

– | Afp | Getty Images

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu on Friday said the real aim of the West in Ukraine is to strategically defeat Russia, to pose a threat to China, and to maintain its own monopoly position, state-owned news agency RIA reported.

RIA cited him as adding that “almost all” NATO countries had deployed their military capabilities against Russia.

— Reuters

Kyiv museum displays objects Russian soldiers left behind

Curators at the National Museum of the History of Ukraine in Kyiv display a variety of items left by Russian soldiers when they occupied areas around Kyiv during the first part of Russia’s 2022 invasion.

Russia ultimately retreated from the capital area, concentrating its land war in the east. 

Exhibited items of the Russian army on April 26, 2023 at the National Museum of the History of Ukraine in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Roman Pilipey | Getty Images

Visitors look at exhibited items of the Russian army on April 26, 2023 at the National Museum of the History of Ukraine in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Roman Pilipey | Getty Images

A man walks down the steps next to exhibited items of the Russian army on April 26, 2023 at the National Museum of the History of Ukraine in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Roman Pilipey | Getty Images

Boxes of Russian army meals, with Ukrainian text written on one, reading “The trophy. The owner was eliminated by Ukraine’s Armed Forces”, are exhibited on April 26, 2023 at the National Museum of the History of Ukraine in Kyiv, Ukraine. 

Roman Pilipey | Getty Images

Exhibited parts of military vehicles and items of the Russian army on April 26, 2023 at the National Museum of the History of Ukraine in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Roman Pilipey | Getty Images

A museum worker sits next to the portraits of members of the ‘Azov’ unit that were killed last year in Mariupol during the Russian attack, at the part of the exhibition dedicated to defending of Mariupol’s Azovstal on April 26, 2023 at the National Museum of the History of Ukraine in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Roman Pilipey | Getty Images

U.S. imposes sanctions on Russia and Iran for wrongful detention and hostage-taking of American citizens

US journalist Evan Gershkovich, arrested on espionage charges, stands inside a defendants’ cage before a hearing to consider an appeal on his arrest at the Moscow City Court in Moscow on April 18, 2023. 

Natalia Kolesnikova | Afp | Getty Images

The Biden administration announced a first round of sanctions targeting Russia and Iran for engaging in hostage-taking and the wrongful detention of U.S. citizens abroad.

The U.S. sanctions take aim at Russia’s Federal Security Service, often known as the FSB, and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Intelligence Organization, or IRGC IO.

“Our action is a warning to those around the world who would wrongfully detain U.S. nationals, the potential consequences of their actions,” a senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said on a call with reporters.

The administration has identified at least two American citizens wrongfully detained in Russia and three in Iran along with one legal permanent U.S. resident.

During opening remarks before Monday’s U.N. Security Council meeting, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield spoke directly to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and called for the immediate release of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich and former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, both detained in Russia.

Former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, who is being held on suspicion of spying, in the courtroom cage after a ruling regarding extension of his detention, in Moscow, Russia, Feb. 22, 2019.

Shamil Zhumatov | Reuters

Thomas-Greenfield invited Elizabeth Whelan, the sister of Paul Whelan, to attend a U.N. Security Council meeting.

“I want minister Lavrov to look into her eyes and see her suffering. I want you to see what it’s like to miss your brother for four years. To know he is locked up, in a Russian penal colony, simply because you want to use him for your own ends,” Thomas-Greenfield said.

Whelan was arrested on espionage charges in 2018 and sentenced to 16 years of hard labor in a Russian penal colony in 2020.

Read the full story here.

— Amanda Macias

Read CNBC’s previous live coverage here:

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